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Do teachers deserve more pay? Absolutely.
Tacoma Schools has prided itself for years as one of the highest-paying
school districts in the region. Nothing makes a bigger difference for
students than providing them with world-class teachers. We are experiencing some serious
effects from the state's inequitable funding formula that also may
affect your student and family.
Check back daily for important updates.
September 13, 2018
Most of us don’t evaluate complex salary schedules every day. There are 200 steps in the salary schedule. Also, with optional days and tech training hours, the number of variables keeps going up.
September 12, 2018
Tacoma schools will remain closed to students and the public on Thursday, Sept. 13 due to the ongoing strike.
The Board’s first priority is to get our students back to school. We want to reach an agreement with the TEA that honors the work that our education professionals do every day on behalf of our students, and that puts us in a good position to attract and retain talented educators.
Sept. 11, 2018 proposal represents:
At this point, without a legislative fix, Tacoma Public Schools faces more than 480 position layoffs among all employee groups and program cuts across the district for the 2019-2020 school year. That’s about 15% of our workforce.
April 29 – TEA exercises option to reopen negotiations solely for salary adjustments for the 2018-2019 school year for employees represented by TEA, which includes teachers, office professionals and professional technical employees.
September 10, 2018
All schools will remain closed
Tuesday September 11 due to the strike by the Tacoma Education Association.
Tacoma Public Schools today asked the leadership of the Tacoma Education Association to join together in a binding arbitration process and immediately end the strike. The Tacoma Education Association has declined our request for transparency and binding arbitration by an independent party.
Binding arbitration means both TPS and TEA will lay out the facts and make their case to an independent, neutral arbitrator who then will issue a decision and both parties must adhere to that decision.
This process would provide a definitive result and offers the quickest way to start the school year.
Because the results of the arbitration would be binding, teachers could return to the classroom and school could start immediately.
Both sides remain far apart at the bargaining table. Tacoma Public Schools have offered an estimated $13.4 million in salary increases while the Tacoma Education Association has asked for $26.2 million.
The state’s new funding formula for education treats Tacoma Public Schools unfairly and does not provide a boost in funding that other school districts have experienced. Before Tacoma Public Schools sat down at the bargaining table to negotiate with teachers, the district faced a $25 million budget deficit for the 2019-2020 school year.
The district’s most recent offer to TEA would increase that deficit to $32 million for 2019-2020 and will require significant program cuts and layoffs of approximately 415 staff members.
Tacoma Public Schools is confident that when we present the facts to an arbitrator, the at-risk status of the district’s financial future—due to the state funding formula—will be clear.
Tacoma Public Schools has prided itself for many years at offering the top teacher salaries in the region, which has allowed us to attract and retain the region’s best teaching force. We love our teachers. It’s just as frustrating to the district as it is to our teachers that the state’s new funding formula punishes Tacoma Public Schools and harms the district’s ability to stay at the top in the region in teachers salaries.
If the TEA does not agree to binding arbitration, the lengthier process of fact-finding and non-binding arbitration by the State Public Employment Relations Commission with continued bargaining will continue.
September 10, 2018On Friday Tacoma Public Schools submitted a proposal to We Teach Tacoma - Tacoma Education Association. We’ve included the entry level salary for teachers, the median salary and top of the scale salary.
View last year’s 2017-18 salary schedule:
https://www.tacomaschools.org/hr/Salary%20Schedules/Teachers%20Salary%20Schedule.pdf See the latest proposals from Tacoma Public Schools:
Tacoma Public Schools will request
that salary negotiations with the Tacoma Education Association move to fact-finding and non-binding arbitration.
Tacoma Public Schools has the best teaching force in the region. We have worked hard to support them and make the most competitive offer possible under the district’s financial limitations.
View page 1 and page 2 larger.
We want to help you understand the latest offer from
Tacoma Public Schools. We will keep you informed as negotiations continue.
Last year’s guaranteed salary for new teachers was $45,500 for starting teachers, the proposed guaranteed salary is $50,237 with the ability to earn up to $51,769 – that is a minimum of a $4,737 or a 10.4% increase. And last year’s guaranteed salary for the top of the scale was $90,928, the proposed guaranteed salary is $99,146 with the ability to earn up to 102,207 – that is a minimum of an $8,218 or a 9% increase.
View the 2017-18 salary schedule:
See the latest proposals from Tacoma Public Schools below.
All WaKids assessments for kindergarten and preschool will be postponed until the strike is over.
The bargaining table
Before noon today at the bargaining table, the district bargaining team delivered a new proposal to the TEA bargaining team. Here are some highlights:
Parents, please note there is no access to emergency medications kept at school or nursing staff during this time. Parents of those students with food allergies or dietary restrictions please accompany your student and help them select appropriate food items.
HIGH SCHOOL: Although schools will be closed during the day, high school athletics programs will continue to operate. It is essential that we uphold our scheduled contests with our non-league and league members. Coaches and athletic directors will be communicating schedules as they relate to practice and competition. Busses will only be available for transportation to and from games
We have received notice that the Tacoma Education Association members have voted for a strike to begin the first day of school Thursday, Sept. 6 unless an agreement is reached before then.If a strike occurs, schools would be closed until the union strike is over.The school district has been bargaining with teachers union representatives during the last few months to determine salary increases for teachers for the 2018-2019 school year.Unfortunately, we have not come to an agreement yet. We understand that this uncertainty so close to the start of school is stressful on our students, our families, our staff members and our community.
For regular updates and background information, please check back often. You can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Public Information Office at 253-571-1079.
September 4, 2018
Dear Tacoma Public Schools families and staff members:In an effort to settle contract negotiations over teachers’ salaries before the Tacoma Education Association calls for a strike vote tonight, the district made another increase in its proposal Tuesday.We understand that this uncertainty so close to the start of school is stressful on our students, our families, our staff members and our community.We will do our best to keep you updated as the situation changes, including sending you a message late tonight after we hear the results from the Tacoma Education Association strike vote.Look for updates on our website at www.tacomaschools.org/funding. For questions, email email@example.com. Or call the Public Information Office at 253-571-1015.
To help the public understand the differences between the latest offers by the school district and the Education Association, here are the salary schedules proposed by the two parties:
Negotiations resumed today, Monday, over salaries for teachers during the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
The school district and Tacoma Education Association (teachers union) teams worked until about 10 p.m. Sunday and the district team continued to work until after midnight.
Tacoma Public Schools has significantly increased its offer to the teachers multiple times since last week when a state mediator stepped in to help both sides reach an agreement before the start of school Thursday, Sept. 6.
The Washington Education Association (WEA) has sent representatives to assist TEA at the bargaining table.
Unfortunately, WEA continues to publicly push false information that the state legislature treated all school districts the same and provided additional funds for teacher salaries to all districts.
This simply is not factual. The formula put in place to fund education and increase teacher salaries did not distribute those funds equally to all school districts. The formula creates winners and losers. Tacoma Public Schools is a loser in the funding formula and will receive $385 less per student in combined state and local levy funding in 2019-2020.
The state's funding formula allocated Tacoma Public Schools approximately $50 million in new state revenue but decreased the district's local voter-approved levy by approximately $46 million. Much of that $46 million went to teaching positions and supplementing teacher salaries beyond what the state funds.
Due to the funding formula, Tacoma Public Schools faces a budget deficit of more than $25 million in the 2019-2020 school year.
At the bargaining table, where the district has increased its package offer to teachers, the fact is: We are at a point where every dollar added to the package for teachers or any other employee groups increases the deficit—as well as the number of layoffs across all bargaining units and administrative staff and program cuts for 2019-2020.
Tacoma's reality, due to the funding formula, is different than many other school districts that have experienced a windfall in state and local levy funding.
The League of Education Voters, a state education watchdog organization, highlighted the disparities in its analysis of the winners and losers. For example, two districts similar in size but different in demographics—Tacoma and Lake Washington—receive dramatically different funding from the new formula.
Lake Washington's overall funding increased 29 percent, while Tacoma's increased 5 percent. That's why the League of Education Voters has set as its top priority for the legislature in 2019 to correct the inequities in funding.
Tacoma Public Schools traditionally has paid its teachers among the highest salaries in the region. With this new funding formula, which granted much more money to many other school districts, Tacoma did not receive the funding to keep up with those districts.
We call on the legislators from across the state to fix this inequity in 2019. Our teachers deserve to experience the same increases as teachers elsewhere.
Note that the district and TEA are currently bargaining only over salaries. The full collective bargaining agreement expires in August 2019. The district and the TEA will be back at the bargaining table next spring to negotiate a renewal of the full collective bargaining agreement.
In addition to bargaining salaries for teachers, TEA also represents our office professionals and professional technical employees. Tacoma Public Schools also is currently negotiating a labor agreement with its nutrition services workers.
We are working hard to reach a realistic salary agreement with our teachers.
August 30, 2018
A state mediator met today with representatives from Tacoma Public Schools and the Tacoma Education Association (TEA) to help reach a settlement in negotiations over teacher salary increases before the start of school for students on Sept. 6.
The teams will continue to meet Friday and through the weekend to seek resolution.
Meanwhile, Tacoma Public Schools has learned that the TEA has scheduled a membership meeting for Sept. 4 so members can vote on whether to go on strike.
Earlier this week, Tacoma Public Schools declared an impasse in negotiations and requested the help of a mediator from the state Public Employment Relations Commission.
We will continue to bargain in good faith and hope to reach an agreement as soon as possible. We will keep you updated.
For more background and information, please check our labor negotiations update page at www.tacomaschools.org/funding.
If you have questions or comments, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 28, 2018
Dear Tacoma Public Schools Families:You recently heard from me about the inequities in the new state funding formula for education. That formula harms Tacoma Public Schools and some other school districts by providing less overall funding, while other districts—mostly in wealthy communities—receive much more overall funding.I’m writing to you tonight because we are experiencing some serious effects from this unfair funding formula that also may affect your student and family.For the last several months, we have been negotiating with the Tacoma Education Association (TEA), which represents our teachers, over how much teachers, office coordinators and professional-technical employees will get paid for the 2018-2019 school year. While we have a five-year collective bargaining agreement in place that doesn’t expire until August 31, 2019, that agreement allowed the TEA to reopen negotiations solely for salary adjustments if they chose to exercise that option. They did exercise that option. We have not yet come to an agreement. Because both sides remain far apart, we have asked for assistance from a state mediator to help us reach a settlement as soon as possible.We have been negotiating in good faith with the TEA. We’re also continuing to work with our legislators, locally and across the state, to fix the new formula and make it fair for all school districts. You may have heard that some school districts have agreed to double-digit salary increases for teachers and other staff members. Districts that received a funding windfall can afford to do that. Districts like Tacoma and others cannot. We have offered the TEA and most of our other employees a 3.1 percent pay increase for the upcoming school year.We don’t want to jeopardize the district’s financial future and create a budget that isn’t sustainable this academic year or in the years to come. Even with that 3.1 percent increase, our projections show we will face an estimated $25 million budget deficit for the 2019-2020 school year due to the state’s new funding formula.The News Tribune reported today on the possibility of a strike. We will communicate with you about the labor issues with full transparency in a timely manner. You can also stay informed by visiting our webpage at www.tacomaschools.org/funding.People ask me whether our teachers deserve more pay. They absolutely do. Our district has prided itself for years as being one of the highest-paying school districts in the region. Nothing makes a bigger difference for students than providing them with world-class teachers. Recruiting and retaining the best teachers and staff is critically important, and we have one of the most talented teacher forces. That’s why it’s important for us to recognize and honor the exemplary work they do every day, with a compensation package that recognizes their skill and value. That makes the state’s new funding formula all the more frustrating. As a public school district, supported by and serving our community, it is also important that we recognize our legal and ethical responsibility to make decisions that ensure sound, sustainable financial management. Carla J. SantornoSuperintendent
Background on funding, salary issuesThe legislation intended to settle the McCleary Supreme Court case against the state intensifies the historic funding inequities among districts throughout the state.Last week, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal issued formal guidance to school districts on the implementation of the McCleary legislation. The guidance highlights that districts are limited to what they can afford and sustain. Tacoma Public Schools, and several other districts have fewer financial opportunities to provide the large increases for salaries that have been approved elsewhere. Some districts, including Tacoma, do not have an equal opportunity to provide double-digit pay increases. The State Superintendent’s guidance identifies the four factors that indicate whether a particular district faces a higher long-term financial risk under the new state funding model than other districts.Unfortunately, Tacoma Public Schools was one of the 22 out of 295 school districts that met the criteria for all four risk factors. For our district the four factors are:Factor 1 In 2017-18 we received a state salary allocation of on average $76,082 per Tacoma teacher, which was above the new 2018-2019 statewide average salary of $71,711.Factor 2The new 2018-2019 state salary allocation of $73,042 for each Tacoma teacher is less than we received in 2017-2018.Factor 3Some districts with more experienced teachers will receive an extra funding bump in 2019-20. Tacoma is not one of those districts.Factor 4We are losing more than 50 percent of our local voter-approved levy capacity when the new levy thresholds kick in for the calendar year 2019.Without a legislative fix in 2019, under the new funding formula, we face a $25 million budget shortfall for the 2019-2020 school year. We will continue working on ways to mitigate this deficit.
"School districts will not receive the same amount of funding for the same amount of teachers. This means that one district’s ability to provide a salary increase may be dramatically less than another district located right next door."
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